by Japanese style gardens, a graphic artist commissioned James
Drzewiecki of Ginkgo Leaf Studio in Cedarburg to redo the
front yard of his 1960s ranch in Cedarburg. "We didn’t
want it to be authentic and true in every detail,"
Drzewiecki says, "but to have more of a contemporary
flair." The signature element of the design is the front
walk made up of three separate sections of bluestone. "It
was pulled from the Japanese zigzag path that if evil spirits
are following you they will fall off if your path changes
direction," Drzewiecki says. "The stone sections
give the feel of that partitioned walk."
seeking a tranquil retreat or a fuss-free environment, the following
garden styles are sure to result in an impressive outdoor living
Zen gardens are
a growing trend among Milwaukee-area homeowners seeking an outdoor
space that is idyllic and serene. The minimalist garden style favors
stone mulch over natural plant material and fluid, asymmetrical
planting beds. "People are starting to embrace the midcentury
modern style again," says James Drzewiecki, who owns Ginkgo Leaf
Studio in Cedarburg. "The simplicity of the Zen garden lends
itself well to that architectural style."
co-owner of Treetop Landscape Design in Grafton, says the Zen garden
theme is becoming increasingly attractive to older homeowners who want
to turn their outdoor living area into a tranquil space better suited
to quiet conversation and contemplation. "Now that their children
are grown, baby boomers’ outdoor space needs have changed,"
says Mattingly. "They’re looking for peace and quiet."
Japanese maples, juniper trees and flowering shrubs like rhododendrons
and azaleas fit the Asian garden theme well. Bamboo and ornamental
grasses also lend character.
says the Zen garden style goes beyond the tangible elements. "The
Zen theme should be looked at not just as a space, but a
feeling," he says. "You’re creating a peaceful
The loss of a
loved one can be a traumatic experience. But time spent designing and
maintaining a memorial garden can provide much needed healing.
simply plant a tree or a shrub in someone’s memory or create a more
elaborate space that incorporates plants, a sitting area or a memorial
stone, a memorial garden should be a quiet and relaxing spot where
family and friends can spend time remembering and reminiscing.
has designed memorial gardens for commercial clients like the
Wisconsin Humane Society, suggests incorporating elements that
symbolize your loved ones. "Choose plants that have special
meaning," he says. It could be your mother’s favorite flower or
an oak tree representing strength to honor your father.
elements might include a boulder engraved with your loved one’s name
or a bench that invites people to sit down and reflect on the life of
your departed loved one.
Consider a water
feature if you want to add more interest to your outdoor living area.
The soothing sights and sounds of running water from a fountain or
waterfall conjure a calming atmosphere where homeowners can relax and
forewarned, traditional water features are an investment of time and
money. "A pond requires a lot of upkeep," says Chris
Oberndorfer, owner of Oberndorfer Landscape Development in Mequon.
Oberndorfer saw a drop in demand for water features when the economy
took a dive in 2008, pondless water features have helped revive the
waterfall is simply a recirculating waterfall where the water
disappears into a reservoir hidden in the base. They’re a great
alternative if your yard can’t accommodate a full-fledged pond.
"They’re self-contained so they don’t use as much water and
they can be turned off with the flip of a switch," Drzewiecki
If your approach
to yard work is more hands-off, planting a perennial garden may be
your best bet.
desires low maintenance in this day and age," Drzewiecki says.
planning a perennial garden takes a bit more effort up front, once
planted it requires little more than two to three hours a week to
encourages his clients to consider plants indigenous to the Midwest
region. "Native plants typically require less care than
horticultural varieties," he says.
In addition to
its no-fuss nature, a perennial garden can wow with plant varieties in
a rainbow of colors from early spring through late fall. "The
constant change is a great feature," Oberndorfer says.
A few foolproof
perennials that can weather the Wisconsin climate are daylilies,
peonies and hosta. The lesser known columbine and goldenrod are bright
and hardy, too.